Fri. Mar 1st, 2024

A First British Columbia school bans non-disclosure agreementsSusan MacRae, an English professor at Columbia College in Vancouver, has asked the school's board of trustees to consider a pledge prohibiting the use of confidentiality agreements in cases of sexual harassment and abuse, conduct or intimidation. The board approved the commitment in December. </p>
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A small private college in Vancouver has become the first post-secondary institution in British Columbia to sign a pledge explicitly prohibiting the use of non-disclosure agreements in cases of abuse and harassment.

The Board of Trustees of Columbia College, a nonprofit institution that has provided college-transition courses to local and international students since 1936, voted in December to sign the Can& #x27;t Buy My Silence. This commitment states that the establishment will not use confidentiality agreements to resolve complaints of sexual harassment and abuse, misconduct or moral harassment.

The idea was brought to the board by Susan MacRae, a professor of English at the university and herself bound by a confidentiality agreement for 27 years. She says she is proud that members voted overwhelmingly in favor of the proposal.

I really admire Columbia College for being proactive regarding the safety of students and employees, she says.

Columbia College Principal Matt Wadsworth said he thanks Susan MacRae and the Can't Buy My Silence campaign for bringing attention to the issue and hopes the school doesn't the first of many in British Columbia to sign the pledge.

As a community, the safety of students, staff and teachers is paramount, writes Mr. Wadsworth in a press release.

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ELSE ON INFO: “It allows me to have a goal”: the LPHF makes young hockey players dream< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">The use of confidentiality agreements in cases of bullying, sexual harassment and other disciplinary matters can compromise campus security, undermine the transparency and harm the healing process of victims when the worst happens, he specifies.

Ms MacRae began volunteering for the Can't Buy My Silence campaign – a movement to limit the use of confidentiality agreements – after a frustrating legal battle for the right to speak openly about her childhood sexual abuse.

In 2018, the British Columbian failed to cancel the confidentiality agreement she signed in 1997 to settle her complaint against her father, even after his death, as court documents show.

Susan MacRae is now advocating for laws banning the use of these documents in cases like hers, as part of the campaign founded by Julie Macfarlane, Ontario law professor emeritus, and Zelda Perkins, former assistant to fallen Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

The signing of the pledge by Columbia College is important, according to Ms. MacRae, as the establishment welcomes a large proportion of foreign students.

In some ways, it is more important to have this commitment at Columbia College than at other universities, given that our students are very vulnerable because they are just learning Canadian law, says -t-elle.

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Columbia College is a non-profit international post-secondary educational institution located in Vancouver.

Until now, the only other Canadian schools Signing the pledge were King's College University and Acadia University, both in Nova Scotia.

MacRae says she has spoken to other major post-secondary institutions in British Columbia and is very optimistic that others will follow suit.

CBC reached out to some of the province's largest colleges and universities to see if they would consider making the same promise and some indicated the door was open.

At Simon Fraser University (SFU), for example, a spokesperson says the institution plans to review the Can't Buy My Silence pledge to see how it's doing. #x27;aligns with current policies. The University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) responded that it was aware of the discussion.

Similarly, Vancouver Island University (VIU) is reviewing its sexual misconduct policy and a spokesperson said the issue of confidentiality agreements could become a problem. to be part.

The University of Victoria and the University of British Columbia (UBC) have not signed commitment, but their spokespeople say that under their current policies, victims of sexual misconduct are not asked to sign nondisclosure agreements.

Meanwhile, Ontario has already passed a law prohibiting universities from using confidentiality agreements in cases of sexual misconduct.

In British Columbia, attempts have been made to introduce much broader legislation on the issue. Last year, Sonia Furstenau, leader of the BC Green Party, introduced a private member's bill to restrict the use of confidentiality agreements across the province, to the sequel to similar legislation passed in Prince Edward Island.

The British bill Briton died at the end of the spring session, but a spokesperson said the Green Party remained committed to supporting the campaign.

< em>With information from Bethany Lindsay

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